Officer Mike provides ongoing emotional support to Surfside police officers

SURFSIDE – Shortly after the Surfside condo collapse, service animals and therapy dogs were brought to comfort first responders.

Many of those first on the scene were from the Surfside Police Department.

Now, a partnership with K9s for Warriors has donated a permanent station dog to provide ongoing emotional support to Surfside police officers.

“What happened a year ago a lot of us are kind of remembering again,” Surfside Police Captain Antonio Marciante said.

To ease some of those feelings of grievance is “Officer Mike,” a police station dog.

“I can tell you just this morning I had a meeting with one of my sergeants and one of my detectives, that meeting was was kind of stressful. Mike was in the room, nobody saw him, Mike got up sat down next to the sergeant and put his head up to his hand,” Marciante recalled.

Mike is a 4-year-old Goldendoodle, who has a knack for sensing anxiety.

“Right after it happened, we as a staff started talking about having some support dogs come in, and we brought some in,” Andy Hyatt, Surfside Town Manager said.

After several discussions, K9s for Warriors, a program that rescues and trains dogs for veterans with PTSD or injury found Mike. He’s retired from being a service dog. Now, he’s transitioned to fill a new role, a police station dog.

“We were talking about how we could help with a dog, and ultimately what we decided to do with a station dog, and we’re honored to be able to take a little bit of the magic of a service dog can do for one person and share it with the entire community here in Surfside,” Rory Diamond, K9s for Warriors CEO told CBS 4.

Mike came to the Surfside Police Department in February, initially as part of a pilot program, and quickly won the hearts of personnel and officers,

“We get stopped all the time by residents and visitors and children that want to pet Mike and interact with him, which is great, it’s what we want,” Marciant said.

Mike isn’t just cute, K9s for Warriors explained, he’s recognized as a therapy dog ​​through the American Kennel Club. He provides relief, love, laughter, and at times, a distraction.

“So, when an officer walks in he interacts with the officer, the officer pets him, you can see the smile on the officer, you can almost see the destressin’,” Marciante added.

This week, Mike’s training and service will be put to a lot of use, he’ll be at multiple memorials for the 98 victims lost 1 year ago.

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